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Friday, November 03, 2006

Ted Haggard Resigns

Leading Evangelical pastor, Ted Haggard, has resigned his post as head of the National Association of Evangelicals. This outspoken Christian leader has been accused of paying a male escort for sex on a monthly basis for the last three years. While the facts of this allegation are still being determined, Haggard has confessed that some of it, at least, is true.

The liberals and secularists in our country love it when this happens because they get to use the "H" word, "Hypocrite." You see, Ted Haggard has been leading the crusade against gay marriage. And now it appears he fancies gay sex.

I don't know anything about Ted Haggard. But I hope for the sake of his family, his congregation and his soul, that - if these allegations are true - he finds good law/gospel counsel. Confession is good for the soul. Absolution is even better.

But I have a concern for anyone who is quick to use the "H" word. Is Haggard a hypocrite? Sure. But that does not invalidate his arguments against gay marriage. Listen carefully: A person can both be opposed to a practice AND engage in that practice at the same time. My guess is that Haggard really does believe that homosexuality is sinful. He really does want to protect traditional families. He really does despise the homosexual agenda. And just maybe he like to have gay sex too. Inconsistent? Yep. Hypocritical? To be sure. Hard to imagine? Not really.

Take St. Paul for example. In Romans 7, he states that he does things which he hates. I don't know what things he was referring to. But don't you find yourself ever doing things, saying words or entertaining attitudes which you actually despise? You might even despise yourself. But that doesn't bother me too much. A little bit of self-loathing is a good thing. It's good as long as it drives you to Christ but not if it drives you to despair. Note that Godly sorrow brings repentance while worldly sorrow brings death (2 Cor. 7).

I like Luther's 18th Heidelburg Thesis: It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ. The man who is guilty of tragic disastrous sins and is humiliated thereby is potentially in a better spiritual condition than the smug ones who delight in another man's downfall.

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Bob Waters said...

Well said!

Pastor David Hansen said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this tragedy.

I really think that whenever anything like this happens to a person in the public arena, it reveals the worst parts of our public discourse -- the shame of everyone involved (both left and right)

Anonymous said...

While I agree w/ a majority of things that you said, the first thing that comes to my mind is Haggerty being judgmental. He was judging people harshly for what he, himself, was guilty of.

Kelly Klages said...

Anon, that is indeed a terrible shame. Of course, there's not a single one of us who doesn't do exactly the same thing all the time... It goes back to what was originally said here about judging the action itself. People who engage in behavior tend to want to be justified in what they do, whether it's okay or not. If someone says they shouldn't be doing it, they feel personally "judged," even though it's the action itself that's being spoken against. I don't know how Haggard dealt with the issues, if he went around telling people there was no hope for them, but I suspect he was engaging in a practice that he actually despised. That's sad, but like the man said, not exactly hard to imagine.

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate your seemingly sympathetic view of this news, I have to argue one point. I don't believe that any of this makes Haggard a hypocrite. He is not trying to marry a man, he's sinning like the rest of us do. If, as it appears, Haggard is having a gay relationship, does that mean that he should defend gay marriage? He clearly knows that despite the sin nature, we should still hold marriage as a God created joining of a man and woman. He is married, after all, to a woman. I would hope that we all know that our sins are sins. We should not defend a gay marriage simply because we are having a gay relationship. We all have our sins, but would we stand up and defend our right to commit them? If you disrespected your mother today, would you want to stand up and defend a person's right to disrespect their mother tomorrow? Everyone (with the exception of my grandmother, of course) has a sinful nature that overcomes us on occasion. Would any one of us stand up in church and say that it's okay because "I do it"? Haggard clearly knows it's wrong, and doesn't defend it. He did his best to conceal the whole thing and stepped down when exposed. My prayers are with this man, his family and the entire church that looks to him for guidance. The word "hypocrite" is over-used and misunderstood toward the Christian community.

Anonymous said...

Nice rationalization - self-hatred. Too bad that's what practicing Christianity results in for so many people. All of this recrimination and self-recrimination. I guess they don't take scripture seriously: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

2nd Anon,
Yeah, right. There's never been a verse so misused. I'd very much like to hear someone - you perhaps since you are a bible scholar - reconcile your take on this saying with the rest of the NT.

Anonymous said...

So what if Haggerty is gay or bi??
Yeah he is a hypocrite like all of us. My question is "Why in
America do the sexual sins get all the headlines??" I think it is because we really do really do well with sexuality in general, and the so-called religious right in particular." What if he married but truly is not heterosexual? I believe God made a certain percentage gay, why we don't know. There is certainly a large percentage of Christians, and I am one, who believes gays should have a right to marry. I am one of those Christians who believes the the modern understanding of homosexuality is true, that a small but very real percentage is gay or bisexual. And if we have to judge somebody because they are different from us, then I believe we are living not by the grace of God. And to ask people who truly are gay not to have sex is a terrible thing to ask as we reveal ourselves in our sexuality. I believe we have to also know that God reveals himself to us over time about certain things that we didn't know before. And what is REALLY the big threat of gays? Is it because like Haggerty, maybe they have a bit of gay and can't stand it and thus hate what they see in themselves? Is is because they don't follow the rules of the straight majority?? Is it because the men are too effeminate and that is a threat to us who are so bound to be super masculine? We need to go beyond just quoting the Bible about this issue, as sometimes quoting the Bible is used as an excuse not to think. As I get older, I think one of the greatest sins is that we punish those who don't fit our own categories, and that maybe one of the biggest sins is separating ourselves from one another when somebody doesn't fit our categories of what is "normal."

Anonymous said...

4th anon this is to you. Gay behavior is the sin nature at work. PERIOD. GOD DID NOT MAKE ANYONE GAY! Think about what you are implying here. You are actually implying that God is wrong! God is NOT wrong. He abhors this behavior. So much so, He destroyed entire cities because of it. I suppose you think God should apologize to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah because, oops, I forgot, I made you that way! Perhaps you should re-read the scripture, or read it for the first time, as it would appear to me. God made marriage to be between a man and a woman, He made sex to be between a man and a woman. It doesn't matter if gays want to put each other on their insurance plan or adopt children or even call it a "civil union". Just don't call it marriage, and don't imply that it's Godly. Because no matter how tolerant people are of this behavior, God sees it as sin. The only other sin I can think of that has been so abused that it is expected to be the norm is abortion.(even more hideous) It is most definitely sin and will need to be repented of, like any other. I'm not judging, but God will. He assures us of that. I posted in an earlier comment that we would not defend a persons right to sin, even our own. Apparently, I was wrong because you do. I'm not the judge, but I have heard where the Judge stands on this issue. God help those of us who would stand in front of Him and tell Him that He is wrong!
By the way, his name is Haggard!

Ray said...

To 4th Anon: What many people who want to be seen as Christian and still live in sin do not (sadly) seem to get is that God requires repentance. The price God paid for our sins is that He put it on His Son. And He put all the sins of the world, past, present and future on His Son so that we, turning in repentance (contrition over our sin) would seek forgiveness in Christ. Many love to hear the Gospel of forgiveness that Jesus preached when He first began His ministry, but, interestingly, they do not want to hear the first word He spoke when He began: "Repent!"

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